Cast Iron

Tad's Roasted Potatoes

January  8, 2010
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Last year, after having spent 5 years testing recipes (with Merrill!) for a cookbook, it was time to actually sit down and write the book. I did so in the evenings, which meant that my husband, Tad, took over cooking dinner. Tad is the type of cook who prefers to find a few recipes he likes and master them so he can get in and out of the kitchen and back to reading the paper as quickly as possible. His piece de resistance is roasted potatoes, which he makes in a cast iron pan with lightly smashed whole garlic cloves and whatever herbs are in the fridge. He blankets them with olive oil, scatters on coarse salt and coarsely ground black pepper and then sticks the pan in a hot oven. They're delicious every time. Once when preparing the potatoes, though, Tad used some white potatoes that had been in the fridge for, oh, a month, give or take a few months. When the potatoes came out of the oven, they were as brown as a chestnut, with a thick, glistening crust, and as sweet as candy—far outpacing any version he'd made before. The secret, we eventually learned, was the old potatoes. As potatoes age, their starch turns to sugar, making them denser, softer and easier to caramelize. —Amanda Hesser

What You'll Need
  • 3/4 pound old white potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 splash olive oil
  • 8 sprigs herbs (any combination of thyme, sage and rosemary)
  • 2 garlic cloves, skins left on and lightly smashed
  • 1 pinch coarse salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oven to 375° F. Spread the potatoes in a 12-inch, well-seasoned cast iron pan—they should fit comfortably in one layer. Douse with olive oil, like you're marinating them. Add the herbs and garlic, and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes a few times to mix in the herbs and seasoning.
  2. Roast in the oven, scraping up and turning the potatoes every 10 minutes or so, until the potatoes are well caramelized and tender, about 40 minutes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Deborah Jones McKeeman
    Deborah Jones McKeeman
  • Anne O'Hagan
    Anne O'Hagan
  • MartyM
  • bitememore
  • asbrink
Amanda Hesser

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

35 Reviews

Deborah J. March 26, 2023
These potatoes were both simple to prepare and delicious! I didn’t have any old white potatoes, so I used Yukon golds. But they were still good and crispy with lots of flavor from the herbs.
Anne O. December 13, 2020
I made these last night with a bag of old and squishy baby potatoes. Delicious and one of the reason I love food52 - practical and unfussy advice as well as smart and sophisticated recipes. Perfect high-low approach.
Amanda H. December 13, 2020
Thanks so much for taking time to comment, Anne! Really glad they turned out well.
Anne O. December 14, 2020
Pleasure! My first comment and I’ve been with you from the start. It’s about time.
MartyM April 9, 2020
Major shout-out to Tad's potatoes! I found a half bag of old red skin potatoes in my fridge today during a quarantine clean out and instead of tossing them, I decided to make Tad's potatoes, which I have made many times before and is a favorite recipe in my household. The old potatoes were the best -- Amanda is so right about this. These came out carmelized and delicious. I am thinking about buying potatoes on a regular basis to keep for months on end in my fridge just so I will have old potatoes to make this recipe in the future.
bitememore May 9, 2017
These potatoes look so good! Thanks for sharing. I will try them in my potato and kale salad:
asbrink May 6, 2017
I'm forever letting my potatoes get too old and soft and sprouty, so I'm loving this! Might I dare say I'll buy a bag and let them get that way ON PURPOSE this time?

What surprises me in this recipe is the (relatively) low temperature! I frequently see roast potato recipes hover at 425-450 (Kenji's, Deb Perelman's, etc.).
Amanda H. May 7, 2017
You can definitely roast at a higher temperature if you like -- Tad prefers to cook his potatoes longer at a lower temp so all sides of the cut potatoes have a chance to caramelize.
Linda May 5, 2017
sounds delicious but one thing thru me off. You keep your potatoes in the fridge??? I always thought you shouldn't do this. I keep mine in a bin in the pantry. Does this only work with potatoes that are cold? Sorry for the silly question?
Amanda H. May 5, 2017
Not a silly question at all. I only keep the potatoes in the fridge because our apt is warm and if left out, the potatoes sprout really quickly. So if you keep yours in a bin in the pantry, that's great, and they will work!
Mrs B. May 5, 2017
I found puzzling the recipe in the cookbook calling for 3 pounds of potatoes that had been in the fridge for a month. Who, pray tell, has room for long term storage for so many potatoes? It seems a bit odd especially in a book about planning and shopping for the week ahead. Of course there is no harm in looking a month ahead (in fact a zealot for monthly planning in our midst converted me to this way of thinking last year) but I hate to think that I could not get the best result with a weekly menu that appeals to me, because my potatoes had not been sitting around long enough. My store cupboard is not particularly warm -- in fact, it's rather cool -- but on the rare occasion when I find a stray potato that's been hiding for a few weeks, it's almost always covered with sprouts. So to the ice box those three pounds would go. Quite puzzling indeed.
CondimentQueen May 6, 2017
Hi Beryl, Perhaps the book had a typo? The recipe above says 3/4 of a pound. Hope that helps! :)
Amanda H. May 7, 2017
It is 3 pounds in the book and that's because it's for a week-long menu in which the potatoes show up a few times!
Karen P. February 16, 2016
Actually after I strained the oil and used it for dipping bread (added shredded parm, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes) ?
Karen P. February 16, 2016
Best potatoes I've ever had. Restaurant quality!!
Amanda H. February 17, 2016
Tad is sitting next to me -- and is very pleased to hear that people are still finding his recipe after all these years!
Amanda M. April 17, 2016
Just saw your husband's recipe and about to try it. Sounds amazing. I'll have to change a few things like minced garlic n the seasons aren't exact but still should taste great
Amanda H. April 17, 2016
Great -- good luck!
MartyM August 18, 2014
I posted a comment about my teenage son liking these potatoes a few years ago. He is now in college, and still loves them. Last night was his last night home before heading back to school and I asked him if he wanted anything special for dinner, He specifically requested Tad's potatoes with hamburgers. So thank you, Amanda (and Tad), for this wonderful recipe that is now a family favorite in our household.
Amanda H. August 18, 2014
I'm so happy to hear this -- and so is Tad, who never imagined he could create a recipe that would be enjoyed by others! Hope your son has a great year at school!
jenniebgood September 25, 2013
I love that you made a new discovery with the "old' potatoes - I feel like I always have an extra potato or 2 around when I buy too many for a recipe. I love that this is an easy way to use them up!
Amanda H. September 25, 2013
Tad still makes these once a week -- because we always have potatoes lying around, as well!
Tamara H. July 27, 2013
Tried this last night with pretty fresh CSA potatoes and it turned out amazing!
Miki C. April 1, 2013
We had some organic potatoes which were I thought long gone, but I scrubbed them and followed this easy (I don't cook, I bake) recipe and they were delish. Even my husband loved them, and he is the cook in the family. I left them in a bit longer to make sure they were crunchy on the outside...simple and low cal. Glad I found it.
dillonai December 25, 2012
What if you don't have a cast iron pan? What else can you use to still achieve this result?
Amanda H. December 25, 2012
A heavy roasting pan or any heavy pan, really, should help.
MartyM November 12, 2012
I made these last night and my teenage son said. "These are solid potatoes, Mom."
EmilyC June 24, 2012
I've made potatoes six ways from Sunday, but I've never prepared them exactly like this. They were delightful. My 2 year old declared "delicious" and "yummy" while eating them (there are no sweeter words to this mother's ears!). Paired them with grilled hanger steak marinated in salmoriglio (from the simple sicilian-style flank steak recipe I posted on this site) and a green salad. These potatoes are definitely going into the repertoire.
Amanda H. June 24, 2012
Thanks for giving them a try -- love hanger steak, too!
maryvelasquez February 13, 2011
Our potatoes were definitely beyond their prime and you're right, there is something about the flavor and texture that surpasses the fresher spuds.
Amanda H. February 13, 2011
Thanks for letting me know -- it's fun getting comments long after I post a recipe. Keeps it alive!
STEsker January 4, 2011
This recipe is perfectly simple. My potatoes came out of the oven crunchy on the outside, but deliciously smooth on the inside. I loved the smashed garlic. It was a nice surprise to get a hunk of a roasted clove in between potato bites.
Amanda H. January 4, 2011
Just forwarded your note to Tad -- he'll be delighted!
Julia A. March 17, 2010
Don't think I had old potatoes, but it was lovely just the same. The large pieces of roasted herbs were delightful. This version of roasted potatoes has entered the regular rotation.
Amanda H. July 31, 2010
Glad you liked it! (Sorry for slow response -- catching up!)